Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Playground Soccer: Super Stealball

Friday, April 7th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 120 votes, average: 3.84 out of 5)

Super Stealball is a new game by Matteo Guarnieri of Rag Doll Software (makers of Ragdoll Masters–check out the game and interview here on the site). After a departure from ragdolls with N-Ball, Matteo has returned to his forte with a great use of the Ragdoll Masters engine. His site describes the game as:

Super Stealball is a crazy sports-like game in which players compete for the control of a ball. Ragdolls fly around in low gravity dribbling and tackling opponents in order to keep the ball of their colour.

Game Rules and Strategies

The rules of Super Stealball are simple. Each arena has 2-4 ragdolls and a ball. If you touch the ball it changes to your color until someone else touches it. Retain control of the ball for long enough and you pass the level.

These rules result in several viable strategies, depending on how many opponents you’re up against and the arena’s shape. In an open arena with smooth walls, you can simply try to keep the ball ahead and out of reach of your opponent by scooting along the outside way. Occasional direction changes will throw off the chase.

With more opponents, though, and in more irregularly-shaped arenas, your best bet is usually to hover around the ball and try to keep yourself between the ball and oncoming ragdolls. It’s much more like fending off attackers than it is playing keep-away.

Enemy AI

The AI in Super Stealball can be awfully crafty. The game gets harder by increasing the difficulty of the AI’s logic, rather than by cheating in some way. On the plus side, you can learn from the AI’s technique, but when you do lose it can be a tad frustrating. After all, the computer just beat you with the exact same capabilities you posses. Creating AI is one of the difficult challenges when it comes to creating physics games, and Matteo does this very well.

The AI seems to try position itself between you and the ball, and it does a pretty good job of doing so. It’s actually more difficult to combat in the one-on-one matches. When there are multiple opponents they each have their own color and don’t work together. As a result it’s easier to worm your way in and maximize your ball time, particularly because you can pick on whichever AI color is ahead.


Playing Super Stealball is an interesting exercise in flow. On occasion you will have a very articulated thought–crap, I need to stop Green from getting more ball time–but on the whole you generally achieve a state of flow and stare thoughtless at the monitor. It’s like playing in a very engaging physical sport. You simply do. When you’re “on” you know it. The enemy seems powerless to stop you, and you manage to dominate the match. It’s a rewarding feeling.

Super Stealball Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Super Stealball Game Screenshots)

It’s a Steal

The full version of Super Stealball is priced at $9.95. At the time of this writing, though, the whole Rag Doll Software lineup is available half-price. Super Stealball is a great game to get in and out of quickly, and at $4.95 how can anyone resist?

Head on over to the Super Stealball page at Rag Doll Software to download the free demo (2.89 MB) or order the full version of this great physics game.

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11 Responses to 'Playground Soccer: Super Stealball'

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  1. Matthew said,

    on April 7th, 2006 at 11:10 am

    What do you guys think of the edited video, by the way? Worth the extra production time to show a few clips of a game instead of just one long capture?

  2. on April 8th, 2006 at 9:20 am

    I really like the video, and this game is super awesome as well. You may want to show yourself losing in the video occassionally. It would add to the realism and make the point of how the AI is awesome.

  3. Sporbie said,

    on April 8th, 2006 at 9:57 am

    yeah its better that way…. it shows more of the game.

  4. walaber said,

    on April 8th, 2006 at 11:32 am

    cool game!! I liked the new video as well.

  5. Dylan said,

    on April 9th, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    I like the music, the video is awesome!

  6. Relys said,

    on April 10th, 2006 at 5:26 pm


  7. Dylan said,

    on April 11th, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    The game isn’t that fun though.

  8. Thomas said,

    on April 12th, 2006 at 4:25 am

    I’m not too keen on the zoom transitions in the movies. I absolutely love the idea of showing several clips instead of one long, but a more subtle transition, like a plain ol’ fast crossfade, would be easier on the brain I think.

  9. Matthew said,

    on April 13th, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Thomas: I’ll change the transition for the next video. I’m wary of crossfades simply because they’ll likely be mangled by the video compression. I’ll do something that isn’t as distracting as the long cross-zooms, though.

  10. Thomas said,

    on April 14th, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Ah, true. Didn’t think of that. Anyhow, the new one looks great!

  11. Blake said,

    on November 8th, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    What is the name of the song?

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